- Referee: Mike Dean
- Assistant 1: Stuart Burt
- Assistant 2: Scott Ledger
- 4th Official: Anthony Taylor
Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch.
This weekend we face our old foes Tottenham and this time it’s a match that our friends in the tabloids must be licking their chops over – if we lose this, and lose badly, it will be fertile ground to sow further the seeds of discontent among the Arsenal faithful… if we win – well, they’ll probably go quiet and mumble something about us being lucky and swiftly move on to more important things like speculating ad nauseam about our defensive ‘frailties’ and Robin van Persie’s contract negotiation ‘crisis’ et cetera.
So – with that in mind we had better hope that we’ve got a good referee… let’s have a look at him:
- Full name: Mike Leslie Dean
- Date of birth: 02-Jun-1968 (Age 43)
- Place of birth: The Wirral
- Resides: Cheshire (as in cat)
- EPL Referee Since: 2000/2001
- EPL Games to date: 256
Mike Dean, Mike Dean – we know just what you mean!
It’s Mike Dean again… you remember him – he’s the referee that gave us (on average) 3 yellow cards per game in the 2009/2010 season and yet still couldn’t stop us from topping the fair play league… come on – you must remember the 2008/2009 season where he only sent off black and Irish players (we have to assume no dogs were fielded that season by any clubs)… or that time that he was suspended from his duties in 2005 due to his links to an online betting site called ‘Arbitros’ [Spanish for Referees]?
Well – how about that time when we played Tottenham Hotspur in 2009; he was the ref that disallowed Eboué’s goal and booked him for questioning his authoritie and then sent him off on a second yellow for having the uppityness to ask if he should wait for the whistle before a free kick (Media Watch should check some of the post match pap articles for this game – it’s clear that they never watched it or they were just playing apologist for the kink in the rails that the gravy train runneth).
Ring any bells?
How about in 2010 when Mike “when I saw Mike Dean I did worry” Dean was demoted [until the heat blew over] for the title deciding farce between Manchester United and Chelsea where Dean was on spectacular random form by allowing an offside goal for Chelsea and turning down 3 penalties for United?
OK then – you must remember the game against United in 2009 when the Cheshire Cat sent Wenger to the stands for the temerity of hoofing a water bottle in his frustration at seeing RvP ruled offside yet again [he blamed it on Lee Probert despite the fact that the 4th official does not have the power to send anyone anywhere]? That was the game that he turned down 2 Arsenal penalties and carded 6 of our players – we got the living shit kicked out of us that day as I recall… yet they [the media hyenas] all mocked Wenger the next day for his ‘Jesus Christ’ pose among the glory hunting tormenters making ‘wanker’ signs at him.
OK then – if you don’t remember that, then how about the 2011 match between Tottenham and Manchester United when he held United to a draw via some creative chaos and a straight red for Rafael? And while we are on the subject – he also officiated the 2008 FA cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff in which Harry Redknapp’s Porrtsmouth squeaked it 0-1? Or the 2011 Carling cup final between Arsenal and Birmingham where Mike Dean literally jumped for joy when he blew the final whistle at 1-2 to Birmingham… maybe he’s got a thing about dishing out tin to clubs about to sully the good name of the EPL by imploding financially?
Ok then – if you don’t remember any of that (and why should you, after all nobody made a big deal of it) then maybe you remember the Arsenal Vs. Birmingham match at St. Andrews on the 23/02/2008 where Dean’s failure to clamp down on ‘robust’ and ‘firm but fair’ [English] challenges saw that Johnny (Brazilian and/or Croatian but NOT English) Foreigner Eduardo have his foot removed from his leg? Do you recall the pundits and peers saying it was pure bad luck as Eduardo was a bit tricky and it [the challenge from Taylor] was “not even a yellow card” in their opinion? Oh yes – even back in 2008… Martin Taylor was cast as a gentle giant and Wenger the wicked Frenchman for critisising him when he was obviously ‘in bits’ at what he gone done – how long have we been sleeping eh Gooners and how long have we been conditioned on how we should think?
The final score was 2-2 – one goal from a dodgy free kick and the second from a move that started with Adebayor having his shorts pulled off in the Birmingham penalty area and ended with Stuart Parnaby performing a swan dive to win a penalty from Clichy’s clearance in the final seconds.
I still believe that we would have won the EPL that season and that’s the point where the ‘Arsenal collapse’ [sic] talking point started… never forget the origin of these things – this was our seasonal ‘Busacca Moment’ if you like and it was Mike Dean who dealt it.
The media blamed Gallas; the black man with the silly haircut, and nodded sagely while dishing out such ‘talking points’ as ‘Petulance’, ‘Maturity’, ‘Mental Strength’, ‘Frenchness’ and ‘Spine’ – before using their English sense of ‘Fair Play’ to hound Eduardo out of the country by labelling him a ‘Cheat’ and making him their poster boy for their very own CheatWatch… that is until Gerrard and Rooney’s names kept getting put forward in their ‘shame the divers’ campaign and it all sort of just fizzled out.
I digress, where was I – oh yes; do you remember Mike Dean now? He is the Chesire Cat who slowly fades into the background, after a time you’ll forget he was even there… and all that remains will be his shit-eating grin.
Let’s check out his stats!
Mike Dean has had 31 games for Tottenham Hotspur consisting of 13 wins, 10 draws and 8 losses.
Tottenham Hotspur are currently in 7th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.58 PPG.
In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Tottenham Hotspur come 7th with an average positive swing of 0.25.
Tottenham Hotspur are currently in 7th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 1.61 BPM.
In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Tottenham Hotspur come 9th with an overall average of 6.86 FPB.
If we look at the graph (above) we can see an interesting crossover of the FPB/BPM [red] and the Opposition FPB/BPM [Orange] lines – this I would say is a text book counter intuitive case for use of the booking data to find bias. As you can see when Tottenham Hotspur’s opposition foul more and get booked less; Tottenham’s PPG/AHS actually gets higher and fatter i.e. they display an over performance.
An explanation for this is that somewhere in the 2008/2009 season, Mike Dean started to give Tottenham a lot of free kicks for innocuous challenges and only gave free kicks/bookings to Tottenham for the more serious fouls – although despite the higher FPB Tottenham exhibit [in the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons] they still get booked less than their opposition under Mike Dean.
Above we can see a breakdown of the booking information for Tottenham Hotspur under Mike Dean. We can see that Mike Dean fairly consistently books Tottenham’s Midfield and defence at some point in the second half – although this has shown a different trend [last season] as Mike Dean booked them earlier in the match and less. We can also see in the 2010/2011 season a few very late bookings going in for substitutes and the Goalkeeper.
If we move on now to look at How Mike Dean treats Tottenham’s opposition (above) we can see a large number of bookings in the midfield and the defence around the half way mark from the 2008/2009 season onwards. We also see the opposition strikers receiving significant and earlier bookings in time although these are trending later (all around the 60 minute mark) but with more bookings last season.
Let’s have a look now at how Arsenal fair under the whistle of Mike Dean:
Mike Dean has had 27 games for Arsenal consisting of 13 wins, 9 draws and 5 losses.
Arsenal are currently in 4th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.78 PPG.
In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 18th with an average negative swing of -0.35.
Arsenal are currently in 18th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 2.07 BPM.
In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 21st with an overall average of 5.63 FPB.
OK the very first thing that strikes me (like a punch to the goolies), in the above graph, is the anaemic blue line that represents (2008/2009 season excepted) a consistent underperformance against the handicap and a very low, on average, points per game – it dwindles, last season, to an average underperformance of -1.13 goals and 0 points per game.
You can also see by the fatness of the Red line that we get booked more than our opposition (the orange line), under Mike Dean, who sail high and thin indicating that they get away with more fouls per booking and are booked a lot less, on average, per game than Arsenal – this is a good contrast to Tottenham’s figures in their graph – you can see that their line (despite being below the orange line) still remains thinner on average than their opposition and this seems to play out in their positive results.
This interestingly could be a key marker in making intuitive sense of the FPB/BPM data with regards to bias – I will have to investigate this further.
Wow – you can really see where those bookings were being taken – last season Mike Dean took our Defenders out of the challenge with a huge average amount of bookings (3 BPM) averaging out at around the early stages of the second half – we have also seen a steady stream of bookings in the Midfield – although Mike Dean didn’t book our Attack or Goalkeepers at all last season at all.
As we can see – our opposition, under Mike Dean, are trending toward getting booked fewer and later – last season saw only our oppositions Midfield and Substitutes get booked by Dean, on average, fairly late in the second half.
Let’s move on now to check out how Mike Dean performs against selected teams in the EPL:
Ok – we can see clearly Arsenal’s dire results of late under Mike Dean there [thin blue line] as we scrape the bottom of the barrel in both our performance against the handicap and our points per game. We can also see some terrific progress from Chelsea in Mike Dean’s stats whose [orange] line is getting both fatter and higher to indicate an over performance and a good return in the way of points. Tottenham Hotspur’s line really picks up from the 2008/2009 season onwards and this has given me pause to think :– what exactly happened to Tottenham in that season to cause this change in fortunes for them under Mike Dean?
The only thing that I could think of was the arrival of Harry Redknapp to the club, from Portsmouth, for his first game on the 26/10/2008.
So, me being me – I decided to see how Portsmouth faired before and after the 2008/2009 season under Mike Dean and compare this with Tottenham:
Now this is curious… we can see Portsmouth’s performance under Mike Dean plummet as Tottenham’s rise against the handicap (before breaking even last season) – I have checked these clubs figures under multiple referee’s and nowhere is the contrast as marked as this… so this could be the ‘Redknapp Effect’ – but this effect is only as especially marked under one referee; Mike Dean.
But this graph surely only tells half the story as Harry Redknapp joined Tottenham Hotspur mid season (2008/2009)… so to get a more accurate picture of the relative performance of Harry Redknapp’s teams under Mike Dean – we have to create a new graph which ignores the teams and models performance on a Manager/Referee basis… it was a major ball-ache to code this graph but I found myself blessed with the indefatigable motivation of a bloodhound on the scent of a sly old fox.
So – for your pleasure:
I’ve thrown Juande Ramos in for good measure (as he was the Tottenham Manager immediately before Harry Redknapp) and Sam Allardyce just to give you some perspective – I’ve also thrown in the mix Alex Ferguson and our own Arsene Wenger as examples of top class Managers.
Now what is really rather interesting here is the rise of Harry Redknapp [the climbing fat red line] – his line on the graph streaks through Mike Dean’s figures like a rocket and easily out-performs not only Arsene Wenger (who does unbelievably badly under Mike Dean) but also Alex Ferguson?! Again – I cannot find a similar correlation with any other EPL referee… but also look at zero points Juande – with the same team as Harry had, you can see a drop in performance, on average, of over 3 goals against the handicap with Mike Dean as the referee…
…So what’s that all about then?
As an aside and for your contemplation; Stoke tried to have Mike Dean replaced as the referee against Tottenham in 2010 – they compiled a dossier of ‘evidence’ as to why he would be unsuitable for this fixture and presented it in good time prior to the match to Mike Riley, the general manager of PGMOL.
The dossier was ignored (and I suspect never read) and the game went ahead as planned; Dean Whitehead [of Stoke] saw a red card and Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham romped home with a 2-1 win.
Now what bothers me here is after having Howard Webb at Old Trafford – we, Arsenal, now have Mike Dean with a Redknapp team… who is picking these referee’s and are they conscious at all of their statistics, this is the worst possible combination we could hope for – as Walter said in his recent article: it makes you wonder.
And it make you wonder even more if we look at the amount of times that certain referee’s are allocated to games with certain managers – this is a ‘Top 10’ breakdown of appointments since the 2005/2006 season:
|Alex Ferguson||Howard Webb||22|
|Harry Redknapp||Mike Dean||22|
|David Moyes||Howard Webb||20|
|David Moyes||Alan Wiley||19|
|Rafael Benitez||Alan Wiley||19|
|David Moyes||Peter Walton||19|
|David Moyes||Phil Dowd||18|
|Martin O'Neill||Steve Bennett||18|
|Alex Ferguson||Chris Foy||18|
|Arsene Wenger||Howard Webb||18|
Therefore this appointment will make it a chart topping 23 for Mike Dean and Harry Redknapp… does familiarity breed contempt – it would seem not in this case.
So, what can we expect from this game? The Predictortron gives Tottenham Hotspur a 0.746796 of a goal advantage… it’s a Super duper Sunday game and Tottenham are the hot favourites (a LOT of mug money on this one) – so who knows – but I’ll leave you with a quote from a fellow Arsenal supporter, who messaged me this, immediately upon hearing that Mike Dean got the North London derby:
“It’s my favourite game of the year to go to, but I am now feeling pessimistic to a high degree. I shall watch with anger as he systematically books our midfield in the first 20mins. I will then start grabbing my hair as he plays advantage for spurs whilst not allowing us the same pleasure. I will then begin to shit into a hotdog wrapper as he gives a phantom penalty and sends off our players. I will then hurl said shit at Mr Dean when he proceeds to stop the game in the last 5 minutes, to book the spurs players in order to ‘even’ up his stats.” – @NeilBrooksAFC
I really hope he’s wrong… and I must stress that Untold Arsenal does not condone the hurling of faecal matter at PGMOL officials, no matter how much we feel they may deserve it.